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Text For The Month / Monatsspruch

Februar 2020

Ihr seid teuer erkauft; werdet nicht der Menschen Knechte.
1. Korinther 7,23

Teuer – da denke ich materialistischer Mensch an Geld und Gut. £2,50 für eine Kugel Eis finde ich nicht mehr preiswert. Autos kosten leicht zehntausende und gelegentlich über hunderttausend Pfund. Häuser oder Van Goghs sind noch teurer. Was kostet ein Mensch wie sie?

Eine unverschämte Frage, aber leider gibt es auch heute, wo die Sklaverei offiziell abgeschafft ist, immer noch Menschen, die ihren Preis haben. Politiker, Beamte oder Journalisten sind manchmal leider käuflich, weil sie sich selbst bereichern wollen. Verzweifelte Menschen in auswegloser Situation müssen sich selbst verkaufen auf die eine oder andere Art. Oder sie werden verschleppt und werden von Anderen buchstäblich als Sklaven verkauft, auch in unserem Land, wo es das eigentlich nicht gibt.

Paulus schreibt den Korinthern aber nicht von materiellen Preisen. Er denkt an Christus, der sein Leben am Kreuz gab, damit wir von Selbstsucht befreit Gott dienen. Der Preis war Jesu Leben. Gott hat uns seine Liebe gegeben, damit wir sie weitergeben. Wir dienen den Menschen mit allem, was gut ist, aber unser Herz gehört zuerst Gott und daraus folgt alles Andere.

 

Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen

Erstens. Damit wir gründlich erkennen, was ein Christenmensch ist, und wie es um die Freiheit stehe, die ihm Christus erworben und gegeben hat, wovon Sankt Paulus viel schreibt, will ich diese zwei Sätze aufstellen:

Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen
Ein Christenmensch ist ein freier
Herr über alle Dinge und
niemand untertan.
Ein Christenmensch ist ein dienstbarer Knecht aller Dinge
und jedermann untertan.

Martin Luther, 1520

 

March 2020

Jesus Christ says: Watch!
Mark 13.37

The one word “Watch!” on its own is a bit unclear. He was not going through the Radio Times pointing out the latest David Attenborough documentary, as much as I’d like to think he would like us to have a good insight into the workings of nature. Neither did he point to anyone’s wrist in amazement of the latest timepiece. Both, TV and clocks, had not been invented at the time Mark wrote his Gospel about Jesus’ life and teaching. We need some context.

The whole Chapter 13 in Mark’s Gospel looks at the end of times and the coming of the Messiah. We Christians would say the second coming of Jesus Christ, because we see Jesus of Nazareth as the anointed King (Greek: the Christ; Hebrew: the Messiah) that God has promised to his people.

The chapter starts with his disciples marvelling at the great temple in Jerusalem and Jesus telling them it will perish. Jesus continued to tell his disciples that there will be many false Messiahs and prophets, persecution of Christians, the sun and the moon will be darkened before the Son of Man comes in clouds with great power and glory. He ends the chapter (32-37):

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back - whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”

The Gospel was not about nature TV documentaries or watches, but looking at signs in nature and paying attention to the time play a part when we are told ‘Watch!’.

For two thousand years Christians have tried to figure out what the signs mean and when to expect Christ back. Some groups took different prophesies and cobbled them together to reach a specific date close to their time. One such date was supposed to be in 1914, but instead of the risen Christ we got the First World War. Which makes me reluctant to follow that trail of thought.

A more promising way to look at this is to always be prepared for Christ’s coming into our hearts to challenge us and our behaviour. We sometimes forget about his will when we happily follow our own ideas. Then our conscience (or is it the Holy Spirit?) nags us to change our course. This is nothing to be scared of, rather to look out for. In theory… In reality I have to admit that I do have a stubborn element within me that rather follows the way of least resistance, aiming for comfort and luxury for myself. Do I share enough (not just material, but time and attention)? One could always do more. Then again, we may – we should – keep the balance between loving our neighbour and ourselves. This can easily be abused to protect us from any demand love may present to us. Therefore actively ‘Watch!’ whether our way of life is compatible with Christ’s example. This is no job for couch potatoes.

Another way of interpreting the chapter about the end of times and the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah is to be prepared not so much for the end of the whole world, but of our personal world when we have to leave it. Now in Winter is the season when we have to part from dear people, we ourselves may have to follow soon. Our end may come as a thieve in the night, completely unexpected, or it may have announced itself with aches and pains. Are we prepared? Will we have lived as God would have wanted us to? How will he judge us? ‘Watch!’ what you are doing to always be prepared.

Udo Bauer

 

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